Category Archives: school

A best friend’s wedding

I’ve been lucky enough to go to all of my college roommate’s weddings. The most recent one was for Cami, a girl who is as different from me as our hometowns. She grew up outside of L.A. I grew up in the country, Moses Lake, WA to Sundance, WY.

In the end, I think it’s our differences that have made us such great friends. And I was so happy to see her celebrate her special day.

She met a great guy and in November they decided to tie the knot. The got married Nov. 17 and so I got to spend my birthday in some what warm southern California, decorating and finishing up last minute details for her reception the next day.


Even in November they had fantastic weather and a beautiful sealing. I absolutely approve of her husband, Devan is thoughtful and considerate and makes Cami so happy.


I’m so glad I got to be there.


One of the best parts of the weekend was getting to hang out with my good friend, Mara. She was also on our freshman floor in Deseret Towers and I’m so glad we’re still friends 10 years later!! We’re actually planning a reunion for next summer for all the freshman girls!


Happy Wedding, Cami and Devan!

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Graduation Pictures

Okay, so here are some pictures from my graduation. In no particular order!


Last weekend was filled with family and friends because it was GRADUATION! My entire family drove down to celebrate with me and it was so much fun!! 

We cleaned up my yard on Thursday (thanks guys!) in preparation for a barbeque later that night. Thursday afternoon we went to University Commencement where Elder Nelson, Elder Christoffersen, and President Uchtdorf all were visiting. It was great to hear them speak. It was also cool to see all of the grads together, there were so many!
Thursday night we had a barbeque in my fabulously clean backyard with many friends and family.
Friday morning at the crack of dawn we went to my convocation. Elder Oaks spoke because several of his grandchildren were graduating from my college. 
Then it was official, I am a college graduate! I did it!
Pictures will be coming soon…

The End

“A ship in harbour is safe… but that is not what ships are built for.” –William Shedd

Classes are done. Forever. It’s time for me to use my education and “leave the harbor.”

The funny thing is, I actually really like school. I think I will miss the smell of new paper, the new textbooks and all of the new things I get to do at the beginning of a new semester. 

I won’t miss the homework though. I look forward to working hard while I’m at work and then coming home to play! 

Oral History Interview

Clifford Snyder Oral History Project
Interview with Cliff Snyder
Date of Interview: April 3, 2008; Salt Lake City, Utah
Interviewer: Kyna Taylor
Transcriber: Kyna Taylor

Taylor: This is the interview with Cliff Snyder for the Oral History Project. We are in Salt Lake City and the interviewer is Kyna Taylor.

Taylor: You were involved with the media for a long portion of your life.

Snyder: Yes, I am the former Vice-President of Sales KSL-TV and Radio, I’m also the former Owner and Chairman of Bajamar Broadcasting (Radio Stations including KOSI S.L.C./ Spanish Fork) that were purchased in 1999 by Clear Channel Media. I am also the former Chairman of ‘In-Store Broadcast Network’, you can google it if you want to find more information.

Taylor: What are your first memories of the media?

Snyder: My first memories of media is viewing sports and watching various programs with my mother and father on black and white TV in the early 1950’s in Coral Gables Florida.

Taylor: Did you listen to the radio with your family when you were young?

Snyder: I listened to the Dodgers play baseball on radio regularly when I was a little boy. I loved Duke Snider. He was one of my boyhood heros.

Taylor: What is your favorite type of media and why?

Snyder: Now, I would say the internet is my favorite media. It has brought the business world together.

Taylor: What advice would you give to someone just becoming a media practitioner?

Snyder: What is my advice to a college student contemplating entering the media? Get a job in the media… as soon as possible. Get an entry level position with a reputable company. Tell them you’ll do anything. Deliver mail, whatever. Then the networking starts!

Taylor: How important is networking?

Snyder: Networking is a dynamic that serves the user forever. Media is a small, close-knit society. And once you’re on the inside, great things happen. You start to formulate ideas on what area of the media you really want to pursue. And you begin to meet people who can help you achieve your dreams.

Taylor: Do you need a degree or can you just have the skills to be a media practitioner and why?

Snyder: In this day and age I believe a degree is important not only in the interviewing process, but in attaining promotions. Upper management promotes employees for many reasons, but having a degree often helps and breaks ties. Having an advanced degree is now often required for management progression.

Taylor: Why did you get into the media field?

Snyder: I got into communications when I made a decision not to pursue pre-med my sophomore year at the U. of Utah. I transferred to Cal. St. Northridge because they had a great broadcast curriculum.

Taylor: What was your first experience on the job like?

Snyder: My first job during my senior year in college was selling broadcast time for a Spanish Radio Station in L.A. (KALI Radio). I was the only anglo at the station. What an experience. I called on clients in East L.A. But this job created my first big break! I signed a credit dentist to an annual contract. That signing led me to work at KGIL Radio in the San Fernando Valley where I really started to learn the business.

Taylor: Who were your co-workers?

Snyder: My co-workers were all Hispanic. This was an era (1975-76) where ethnic media had not yet taken off. The agencies didn’t have ethnic media departments or specialists.

Taylor: How did promotions work?

Snyder: I promoted myself at KALI by finding a much better job by signing a big contract where a quality station would hire me. But my experience at KALI gave me belief in myself, and proved to me that I could succeed in a difficult environment. That first job was a great opportunity, even though it paid very little.

Taylor: Tell me about the changes over the years in the technology you work with.

Snyder: Changes in TV are widely documented i.e. cable, HDTV, etc. etc. My dealings with networks as a broadcaster for Bonneville Int’l in the 70’s thru the 90’s were totally different than they are today. There is so much competition now that we didn’t have. In those days in S.L.C. you basically had four stations competing for viewers and ad dollars. KSL (we were the big guys) then KUTV, KTVX, and KSTU. Now the pie is divided 100’s of ways. And there are so many more media. Not just radio, TV and Newspaper. But internet and in-store and so much more.

Taylor: How are you still involved in the media today?

Snyder: I am still involved in the media as an investor and former chairman of a major in store media company, IBN or ‘In Store Broadcast Network’. We display flat-screen TV’s in major grocery and drug stores including Kroger and Walgreens which is driven through the internet. We reach million of customers every day that are in the process of making buying decisions.

Taylor: How did your job affect your relationship with your family?

Snyder: My wife and kids have totally supported me during my broadcast career. My oldest daughter is now a planner for Saachi and Saachi in L.A. where she plans all of Toyota’s internet advertising.

Final Paper: Question for Inquiry, review of published info, original evidence, analysis and conclusion

“Get off the computer and go play outside!” A mother or father may urge his teenage child to go on a bike ride or walk the dog or to do something as simple as read a book. Many middle class American homes today are filled with parents urging their children to cease their media consumption and participate in some other activity. These same parents often complain about how their children are “addicted” to the medium of choice, whether it is the Internet, video games or the latest iPod. In order to be able to tell if addiction to media is a viable concept; the definition of both addiction and dependence needs to be made clear, it needs to be understood to which media one may get addicted and then this issue must applied to a specific group of people such as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in the Missionary Training Center (MTC).

Addiction is a term that is used quite often in today’s society, yet often those that use the term give it slightly different meanings. Young college students were surveyed to discover how they defined the term addiction: a business student from Texas stated that addiction was a desire for the thing to which one is addicted that is so strong it consumes the persons thoughts and that in order to satiate the addiction one must consume consistently more of the “thing”. One former student with a degree in psychology described addictions as “unhealthy, negative, habitual behaviors th[at] come and go in cycles.” These definitions seem sound and they also describe the state of being of those who have an addiction, however, they do not include all of the possibilities of what may be defined as an addiction.

According to the American Psychiatric Association a term more appropriate for an “addiction” is dependence. This is because addiction has been traditionally defined as a physical dependence like an addiction to drugs, alcohol or nicotine. With recent studies and for this paper it may be added, the expansion of media into the mainstream, the idea of psychological dependence has become much more prevalent. It is hard, but not entirely impossible; to define the media as substances or exactly what signifies an addiction to a certain medium. An addiction to media, technological or otherwise, says Dr. Young, is “a clinical impulse control disorder, an addiction in the same sense as compulsive gambling.” (Rauh) Thus it is shown that the term addiction has been redefined to include addictive behaviors along with long recognized addictions to mood altering substances.

Dr. Aviel Goodman from the Minnesota Institute of Psychiatry decided that this new way of thinking about addiction needed to have a definition that could be accepted by the scientific community and thus used to diagnose addictive disorders more easily. Dr. Goodman states:
“An addiction designates a process whereby a behavior, that can function both to produce pleasure and to provide escape from internal discomfort, is employed in a pattern characterized by (1) recurrent failure to control the behaviour (powerlessness) and (2) continuation of the behaviour despite significant negative consequences (unmanageability).” (Goodman)

Continuing in his study, Dr. Goodman lists five diagnostic criteria for an addictive disorder. These criteria are: recurrent failure to resist impulses to engage in a specific behavior, increasing sense of tension immediately prior to initiating the behavior, pleasure or relief at the time of engaging in the behavior, a feeling of lack of control while engaging in the behavior, some symptoms of the disturbance have persisted for at least 1 month, or have occurred repeatedly over a longer period of time. A sixth criterion is also listed as several indicators are described that reveal that a specific behavior may be an addictive disorder, or addiction.

As this definition is applied to the concept of addiction to the media it may be said that “the way to clinically define addictive use of the Internet is to compare it against criteria for other established addictions,” as stated in a report on the addiction of a certain case to a medium, the Internet. (Young)

The definition of an addiction to one medium in particular is difficult because there are so many different media that often are used simultaneously. Doing a simple search on the internet reveals a multitude of blogs with these consumers reporting on their perceived effects of the media on consumers. According to Kimberly Young, PsyD, clinical director of the Center for On-Line Addiction and author of Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction — and a Winning Strategy for Recovery, “reports…indicated that some on-line users were becoming addicted to the Internet in much the same way that others became addicted to drugs, alcohol, or gambling.”

In dealing with addiction, one often looks at how a person reacts when faced with the sudden absence of the substance on which one is dependent. According to, withdrawal symptoms are abnormal physical or psychological features that follow the abrupt discontinuation of a drug that has the capability of producing physical dependence. This definition is interesting because it admits that there may be other symptoms that a person may experience just from the psychological dependence on the addictive substance. Common withdrawal symptoms may include, but are not limited to: sweating, tremor, vomiting, anxiety, insomnia, and muscle pain.

When analyzing media addiction the withdrawal symptoms are going to be more psychological than physical because the dependence is psychological. Although it could be argued that the psychological dependence becomes a physical dependence in a way because it affects behaviors and the patterns of activity of the addicted individuals.

For example, a non physical dependence, gambling, was examined for the possibility of withdrawal symptoms just like a drug addiction manifests itself in the withdrawal symptoms discussed previously. These former high frequency gamblers described disturbance of mood that was at a level similar to that of high frequency alcohol drinkers. These same former gamblers described such withdrawal symptoms as pacing, fidgeting, or shouting out. In accordance with the previous definition of withdrawal symptoms these three reactions could all fit under the category of anxiety. (Wray)

There are many different types of media on the market to buy or consume, this paper will only focus on those that a typical young adult would consume because that is the demographic of those surveyed. This paper will also seek to give a random sampling of how the different types of media may be consumed to help the reader see the picture in general, not focusing on one aspect alone. Music, in all of its many forms is one of the most widely used forms of media. Music can be found on the radio, both satellite and am/fm. It may also be found on the internet through diverse sites ranging from radio stations broadcasting over the internet or through a handheld device like the cd player and iPod.

The Internet is also widely used through the computer, the iPod, and even cellphones and televisions. Television can now be watched on the television set or on the internet or recorded to be watched at a different time. Newspapers are distributed on college campuses, over the internet and to the front door of people’s homes. This list is not exhaustive but works to help the reader understand the variety of media available to the typical young adult who then becomes a missionary in the MTC.

After examining the meaning of addiction, the possibility of being addicted to the media, some of the symptoms of withdrawal a person might endure after ceasing his media distraction and listing some of the media to which one may become addicted, the survey of returned LDS missionaries can be examined more specifically and the application of the different terms will be more true to the definitions used in the psychological and scientific community.
LDS missionaries as they enter the Missionary Training Center (MTC) enter an almost media-free environment after being surrounded by the media by which most of society is surrounded daily. LDS missionaries are 19 year old young men and 21 year old young women who, previous to their mission, lead normal lives. They go to school, interact with their peers, have jobs and consume many different types of media as previously discussed. As missionaries in the MTC they are cut off from the first day they enter from all media such as the radio, telephone, newspaper, Internet, and television.

In the findings of the survey (mentioned earlier) the LDS missionaries who enter the MTC have often been exposed to more than one medium and in many cases prefer to use more than one at the same time, such as music and the internet. Almost 50% of the respondents of the survey used a combination of two media at the same time or more than one medium per day. Thus it may be assumed that a large percentage of missionaries who enter the MTC have similar backgrounds.

Within these similar backgrounds there are many differences that must be addressed to come to an accurate conclusion about the effects of media in these missionaries’ lives. Using the criteria to diagnose addictive disorders discussed previously the level of addiction to the media may be assessed and thus the description of the withdrawal experienced will be more accurate.

According to Dr. Goodman’s criterion of recurrent failure to resist impulses to engage in a specified behavior, the missionaries prior to entering the MTC or after entering the MTC must have tried to resist consuming the specified media, or for the purposes of this paper, any media in general and failed to resist the impulse. The survey conducted found that this criterion becomes obsolete in the environment of the MTC because the missionaries have no choice, they must resist the impulses because most of the media is not available for consumption.

Dr. Goodman also lists as one of his criteria for an addictive behavior as the pleasure or relief at the time of engaging in the behavior. All those who took the survey described feeling pleasure when consuming the media of their choice. All of the participants in the survey chose their “favorite media” because it gave them pleasure to consume said media. The reason for the selection of media may be why those who then become addicted to media engage in this specific behavior at a level of consumption high enough to become an addiction.

Another common theme throughout the participants in the survey was that there was a great deal of time spent engaging in the behavior or activities necessary for the behavior. For example the majority stated that they would listen to music while also completing many other activities. Several stated that they listened to music, “whenever possible,” “at least 8-10 hours a day,” and “had it going while doing other things.” These findings help bring to light the idea of media being consumed at the same time as other media or at least while participating in many other activities.

When faced with the lack of availability of media in such an environment as the MTC, an addicted person would feel the disturbance in behavior and maybe symptoms of withdrawal such as restlessness or irritability. In all of those that were surveyed only three out of the 20 reported that they had noticed the absence of media. These people listened to music and/or used the Internet.

The male subject who noticed a lack of media in the MTC, reported that his life experience before entering the MTC was very “tied in with music” and thus had a hard time separating himself from his habit of listening to music. He noticed the lack of media and tried to compensate by translating the words of his favorite songs into the language that he was learning.

Two female subjects reported that they missed being able to check their email and use the Internet to answer their questions while in the MTC. All of the subjects reported that they were able to overcome noticing the lack of media by delving deeper into the work at the MTC and staying focused.

After speaking to a teacher at the MTC who is an outside observer in this closed environment she stated that the process of overcoming the media influence was greater than the survey responses indicated. She gave several examples of missionaries exhibiting withdrawal symptoms such as: singing songs that are stuck in their heads, quoting movies incessantly and trying to hear the loudspeaker from the football stadium during games. She said some missionaries even go as far as to speaking in songs or translating their favorite songs into the mission language. This is an example of having difficulty with the reduction in media availability.

Another interesting aspect of the MTC is that they have now developed a training series called, “The District” that is a series of filmed episodes teaching the missionaries how to be effective missionaries. This same teacher and other returned missionaries stated that the highlight of their day will be when they are allowed to watch one of these episodes. “It’s our reality TV in the MTC” is a famous quote by the missionaries in one district currently in the MTC.

A favorite memory of the returned missionaries who participated in the survey was of watching movies on Sunday nights. It was their time to relax, feel the tension slip away and enjoy a film. These feelings are often associated with the pleasure and release of tension described by Dr. Goodman as symptoms of an addiction. In fact, once the “real world” gets left behind and the missionaries don’t have as much media addiction simply because they have been in the MTC for so long they begin to quote the movies they watch on Sunday nights or the episodes they watch of “The District.”

In summary, media addiction has been shown to be a viable concept with the definition of addiction being adapted to substances other than chemically changing ones and that even the LDS missionaries who are supposed to be dedicated to a new way of life have a hard time overcoming the lack of media. One observation that can be made from the survey of returned missionaries and current teachers at the MTC is that often missionaries don’t recognize how much they themselves may be suffering but they will notice the suffering of others. This even comes to play in the steps of overcoming an addiction because the first step to overcoming an addiction is that a person admits he or she is addicted to something.

In order to fully analyze the effects of the media a researcher would need to follow potential missionaries to discover their media consumption habits and then have them keep a journal of their experience as they enter the MTC. The MTC is a unique environment that although in the past may have completely cut off those inside from most forms of media is now using different forms of media to teach those who enter therein. This may be because those who enter are more addicted to media and thus react better to these learning tools than others, or these learning tools may be the most efficient way to teach because of other underlying factors that were not addressed.
Outside Sourcing

Goodman, Aviel. “Addiction: definition and implications.” Addiction 85 (11), 1403-1408. “Definition of Withdrawal Symptoms.” <> 27 November 2007.
Rauh, Sherry. “Detox for Video Game Addiction?” July 3, 2006. 27 November 2007.
Taylor, Kyna L. Survey of LDS Returned Missionaries. November 2007.
Young, Kimberly S. “Psychology of Computer Use: XL. Addictive Use of the Internet a Case That Breaks the Stereotype.” Psychological Reportrs. 1996, 79, 899-902.
Wray, Ian; Dickerson, Mark G. “Cessation of High Frequency Gambling and ‘Withdrawal’ Symptoms.” Addiction 76 (4), 401-405. December 1981.

What are your initial perceptions of the professional field of Communication Studies? Why do you find it interesting?

Learning how people communicate, understanding why people react the way they do, examining the best way to approach a situation are all strengths of the Communications Studies major. Communications studies means the study of communication according to Rowan university. These three ideas are important to me because these are all areas that I would like to comprehend to a fuller degree in my life. I can see these theories that we are beginning to learn about in the textbook helping my interaction with my peers, colleagues and superiors become clearer and more efficient. It is almost essential to understand how someone may react to the message you are sending out, both in a personal and a professional setting.

Originating in the days of Plato and Aristotle, today the field of communications studies is connected to studying rhetorical forms of communication, interpersonal communication artifacts and organization communication. (Rowan) Considering the idea that I can learn about these things and obtain a degree for doing so is an interesting idea. However, I am not sure that I would know how to apply these theories and studies to the real world. I would like to work with the mass media, to communicate with them and for doing such I need more specialized training in how to accomplish those tasks. Communication Studies does give an insight into how the messages may be received or portrayed the influence that the audience may have, however, I do also need to learn how to construct the physical message. This course will help me to make sure that the physical message that I produce will have the intended effect on the audience.

Another weakness of the Communication Studies is that theories are constantly changing. The world today is changing with the flood of technology that is sweeping every corner. The means of communication today are different than they were 50 years ago. Changes like this make me wonder how useful all of our theories to predict, explain or simply state communication issues will be in another 50 years.

I know that these theories have lasted for years and the effect of the change is obviously dependent on the utility and scope of the theory. Thus, it is certain that several theories will stand the test of time. The need to create new theories may also be addressed in a Communication Studies major. Creating a new theory is not a field that I desire to explore, it is more interesting to see how those of others can be applied to what I already know and will learn in the future.

In fact, there are studies like the one done by Loet Leydesdorff at the Amsterdam School of Communications Research that analyze the effectiveness of new papers and journals in the communications studies field. Seeing that these different established scholars don’t even take the time to explore their colleagues research makes me wonder how much one more communications studies scholar can add to the already existent theories. (Leydesdorff)

The Communication Studies major is a good fit for my academic goals. I feel that I would succeed and learn much that would truly enrich my life. It stretches my mind, makes me think in different directions and about different things than I ever have before. To analyze the why, or try to predict the outcome, or just describe interaction between people or groups is very interesting and I enjoy reading the chapters in the textbook.

My career goals however are more specifically directed to working with one area of communication and thus require greater training in the specified area. The course of basic communication theories will open my mind to be able to apply these new facts and ideas to the field of Public Relations and majoring in Public Relations will teach me how to apply these communication theories to the field itself, more than just the world in general.

Outside Sourcing
“Communication Studies.” Rowan University. Fall 2007.
Leydesdorff, Loet and Park, Han Woo. “The Journal of Communication and the Field of Communication Studies: Mapping Scientific Communication Online.” Fall 2007.

Why I consume which media

Everyone has different interests, skills and life experiences and everyone chooses to consume different media, as shown by the variety of media choices available. In particular my interests, skills and life experiences make my choice of media different than my family and my friends’ choices.

The newest movies to come to the big screen, the natural disasters that happen around the world, a shift in public opinion of the government and the local legislation in Provo that affects where I live are all important to me and thus define my interests. My interests are defined as those things that entertain me and the things of which I need to be informed. As stated by Ball-Rokeach in her media system dependency research, “Individuals are born into societies where the media system has, through its resources and relations with other social systems, a range of information/communication roles. It is that range of media roles that sets the range of potential media dependencies of individuals.”

How I access the information that the media provides is often determined by my skills and time available. I was born in an age and into a society that uses the Internet and where the daily newspaper is slowly losing its readership. The society of which I am a part has influenced me in what I think are the different roles that the media system has. I enjoy reading and thus often choose to consume written media instead of watching or listening to the same information. Another characteristic particular to my media choice is that I am a visual learner and so I tend to avoid choosing the radio as a medium to obtain information because I can’t fully comprehend something just by hearing the information spoken. As a full time student who also works part time, I find that I don’t have a regular schedule and often, a very limited amount of time to devote to consuming media. This leads to choosing media that I can access whenever I want and that allows me to select to which information I am exposed.

My family differs from my media choice in several ways related to their interests, schedule and even skills. My dad has the same schedule all week long and thus has developed a habit of turning on the broadcast news in the evening after work to be loaded with information in the order organized by the news organization. A characteristic particular to him is that he doesn’t enjoy reading because it is not one of his skills, thus this influences him to choose the more audio-visual media, than a newspaper, for example.

My younger siblings would choose a much different type of media, mainly the Internet, just because they are less informed about the world and tend to use media solely for entertainment. For their generation the media is no longer just about the daily news, but plays first the role of entertainment and then information provider. “Perceived usefulness, an extrinsic factor, was found to have a positive effect on intent to use the computer,” states a study on the motivation for using computer media, “Enjoyment, an intrinsic factor, also was found to have a positive effect on intent to use the computer at work.” (Atkinson) My brothers understand how useful the Internet can be and also enjoy using a computer, thus choosing electronic media as their primary form of media consumed.

Geographic location is also a characteristic that affects our media choice. I read different newspapers than my parents because we tend to read the smaller local newspapers that cover different areas of the world. Also, I tend to rely more on the Internet for information because the area where I live is not a major metropolitan area with much firsthand information or news covered in these local newspapers. My parents live closer to a major metropolitan area and so the local news also covers the big stories that happen there.

In conclusion, I have come to realize that I subscribe to the media system dependency theory developed by Ball-Rokeach that states that media were the most influential when people could not rely upon personal sources of information. In this theory Ball-Rokeach explains that there are different forms of media dependency based on diverse needs that an individual may have. According to this research, “the need to understand one’s social world…act meaningfully and effectively in that world… [and] the need for fantasy-escape from daily problems and tensions…” all influence the likelihood that the media consumed will change attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

Applying this theory to my life, I can see that when the need for information is great the influence of how I obtained that information will be greater. For example, because I have no firsthand knowledge of the wildfires in San Diego I am dependent on the media for all of my information and thus my beliefs about how to act meaningfully in reaction is greatly influenced by the media I consume.

Another example of the change in attitudes about Three Mile Island shows that the varying levels of media coverage affected the public opinion toward nuclear power. According to a study by Gamson and Modigliani, the public support for nuclear power declined once the media covered the issue of Three Mile Island and as soon as it was off the front pages people were not as strongly against having a nuclear plant in their community. (Gamson) This change in attitudes can be explained by the media system dependency theory because the general public doesn’t understand or have one on one interaction with nuclear power plants and thus is dependent on the media for information and even attitude change.

The roles that the media play are constantly changing. My dad chooses to watch the news just be informed of the world events, for him that is the main role of the media. My younger brothers ignore the information provider role of the media unless they need to do a report for school and then they turn to the Internet, which, according to the society in which they were born, is the easiest and most efficient way of finding information. I utilize both the entertainment and information provider roles of the media depending upon which need is greater. However, for whichever reason we may use the media, if we are using it to fulfill a need it will have some, if limited, effect on our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

Works Cited

Atkinson, MaryAnne. Kydd, Christine. “Individual Characteristics Associated with World Wide Web Use: An Empirical Study of Playfulness and Motivation.” ACM SIGMIS Database. Volume 28, Issue 2. ACM Press. New York. 1997

Ball-Rokeach, S.J. “The Origins of Individual Media-System Dependency.” University Communication Research.

DeFleur M.L., Ball-Rokeach, S.J. “A Dependency Model of Mass-Media Effects” Communication Research. 1976.

Gamson, William A., Modigliani, Andre. “Media Discourse and Public Opinion on Nuclear Power: A Constructionist Approach.” The American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 95, 1. July 1989.

The narrative paradigm of Life is Beautiful

Throughout time society has created ways to cope with everyday situations, one of the most common ways to cope is through entertainment. After a stressful day at work, the manager comes home, takes off his tie and turns on the TV to his favorite sitcom. The housewife may sit down while the kids take a nap and read a good book. Teenagers may go watch the latest movie at the theater. Walter Fisher proposed a theory to analyze the content of a narrative called the narrative paradigm. “The basic premise of Fisher’s theory is that human beings are storytellers and to communicate with one another, we construct narratives that “ring true” and possess “good reasons.” (Hinkson)

In the popular movie, “Life is Beautiful” directed by Roberto Benigni, an example of narrative rationality is shown. Guido, a Jewish father in 1939, protects his five-year-old son from the horrors of a Nazi death camp by creating a fantasy that the entire experience is an elaborate game to win a tank. Guido makes several fantasies to help his son frame his understanding of this reality. He creates a system of points, hides his son from the soldiers, and even plays games with his son trying to make him enjoy his time. The five-year-old Giosue finds meaning in his life with this game and is able to bear the boredom and rigors of a Nazi concentration camp to come out practically unscathed; mentally, physically and emotionally. (Internet Movie Database)

This movie, ten years later, still has great appeal to the general public. It is included on many people’s lists of favorite movies and many people have heard of the title. This film truly seeks
“story elements that “ring true” with what these audiences know and believe. This element of communication is what Fisher terms “narrative fidelity” – fidelity being a quality in a story that causes the words to strike a responsive chord, to “ring true,” with the listeners’ experience.” (Hinkson)

“Life is beautiful” rings true in the mind of the receiver in many dimensions. One dimension that Fisher explains is that it must “ring true” with other items we know about the story. The audience of this film has seen many other stories about World War II and the atrocities of the concentration camps. Thus there is the comparison that allows this film to portray yet another side of the same story.

Another dimension of the film that explains its appeal to the masses is that it fits in with their personal experiences. The story of a father and a mother and their son is something that the majority of people have experienced. Guido fills the father’s role of protector and thus fits in with a large majority of other’s personal experiences with their fathers being the protectors as well. When a film truly taps into the social reality of an audience, the narrative constructed is no longer a story told to them, but for them. Every choice the director made – the quotes, frames, anecdotes, and language selected – had to pass the test of fidelity if the narrative was to be accepted by the general public. (Hinkson)

The “good reasons” to buy into this narrative are many. Not only does this film fit in with our personal experiences, but also with consistent values of family and perseverance. The family goes to all extremes to remain together, an element that many would like to have in their own families, even if the actual family is not so. The father’s perseverance in maintaining his child’s innocence is admirable, thus touching another personal value.

An examination of this film with Fisher’s element of narrative probability finds it with all of the elements of a story. There are many different angles, the characters all act as we would expect them to act, the story explains and accounts for all of the details we already know about the history of World War II. (Baldwin) Thus the film is internally consistent, one reason for its great appeal to the general public. Being internally consistent, ringing true with the audience and employing good reasons to believe this narrative make the film “Life is Beautiful” have timeless appeal.


Baldwin, John R. Perry Stephen D. Moffitt, Mary Anne. “Communication Theories for Everyday Life.” Illinois State University. 2004.
Hinkson, Steve. “Speechwriting as Motorcycle Maintenance: John Kerry, Vietnam, and Narrative Fidelity.” 2005.
Internet Movie Database. “Life is Beautiful” <> 1999.

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